Studies conducted in the past few years by Chinese researchers clearly show that shipping has become a significant source of air pollution in China’s main port cities. Because these port cities are so densely populated, emissions from ships threaten the health of a large portion of China’s population.
This problem is expected to intensify in the coming years if shipping emissions remain unchecked and if the rapid growth in shipping seen in the past two decades continues. From 2002-18, the volume of cargos handled by coastal and inland ports in China saw a sevenfold and tenfold increase, respectively, while the volume going through seaports has more than doubled. Since China is home to 7 of the world’s top 10 container ports and handles nearly one-third of all global seaborne containerized trade, as measured in 2018, China’s actions will have strong implications for global maritime emissions reductions.
The good news is that, thanks to the adoption of the DECA regulations and the government’s efforts to ensure that ships abide by the rules, sulfur oxide and particulate pollution from ships at China’s three main port regions have been reduced by 33 percent and 22 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2018.
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